A Riot in Birmingham and the Death of David Lloyd George: A Timeline from December 1901

Following the referendum, the prime minister, Arthur Balfour told the press that the people of the United Kingdom had voted against Ireland having Home Rule. In Phoenix Park in Dublin on Sunday 10 August 1913, John Redmond, the leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party, addressed a rally of an estimated fifty thousand people, in Phoenix Park. He told them that Ireland had voted by more than four to one for self government, with its own elected parliament, within the United Kingdom. England would not stop Ireland from winning its freedom.
 
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Arthur Griffith, the founder of Sinn Fein, also spoke at the rally. He said that Irish MPs should stop attending the House of Commons at Westminster, instead they should convene their own parliament in Dublin. Newspapers covering the rally reported that Griffith received a more enthusiastic reception than Redmond. Also at the rally, William O'Brien, the leader of the All-for-Ireland-League (AfIL) called for full Dominion status for Ireland, like Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and South Africa had. He agreed with Griffith on Irish MPs withdrawing from Westminster and meeting in Dublin.
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The Irish Parliamentary Party (IPP) met to decide whether to continue attending the Westminster Parliament, or to convene an Irish Parliament in Dublin. They voted by 72 votes to 2 to stay at Westminster. In the early 1870s, a motion that Irish MPs shoud withdraw from Westminster was passed at a convention of the Home Rule League.

In the month after the referendum, membership of local Sinn Fein clubs more than doubled, and continued to increase in the following weeks and months. The County Cork North by-election caused by the death of Patrick Guiney (AfIL), was held on 4 November 1913. It was won by Patrick's brother, John Guiney for AfIL, on a policy of abstention from Westminster. He was supported by Sinn Fein, He received 67.1% of the vote to 32.9% for the IPP candidate. In the January 1913 general election, Patrick Guiney was elected unopposed.

On Thursday 20 November 1913, an IPP motion which stated that 'This House believes that Home Rule is the democratic will of the Irish people, and His Majesty's Governmemt should introduce legislation to achieve it' was debated. It was defeated by a large majority. Conservative MPs voted against, and IPP and Labour voted in favour. Most Liberal MPs abstained, including all the shadow cabinet, but 27 on the radical wing of the party, voted in favour of the motion,
 
The book The Great Illusion by Norman Angell, published in 1911, argued that nstions would not go to war because of its disastrous economic consequences. Balfour agreed with this, but wrote that it must not be seen as a plea for peace at sny price. (1)

In 1913, Balfour convinced the Admiral of the Fleet, Lord Fisher, that unrestricted submarine warfare against merchant shipping was inevitable, if war broke out with Germany. Fisher wrote a paper to that effect and his arguments were endorsed by tne First Lord of the Admiralty, Lord Newton. (2)

(1) This was as in OTL. See the book Balfour: Intellectual Statesman by Ruddock F. Mackay, Oxford University Press, 1985.

(2) This was as in OTL as regards Balfour and Fisher. But in OTL , Fisher's 'contention was rejected by Churchill and the Admiralty.' See Mackay.
 
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The South Lanarkshire by-election caused by the death of Sir Walter Menzies (Liberal) was held on 12 December 1913. The percentage votes for each party were as follows (January 2013 general election):
Conservative: 42.0 (49.4)
Liberal: 40.6 (50.6)
Labour: 17.4 (n/a).
Conservative gain from Liberal.

The Tories won the Wycombe by-election on 18 February 1914 caused by the elevation of Sir Charles Cripps (Conservative) to the peerage. The Conservative majority over Liberal was 8.8% in a straight fight. Cripps was elected unopposed in the January 1913 general election.

The Leith Burghs by-election took place on 26 February 1914. It was caused by the appointment of the Liberal MP, Ronald Crauford Munro Ferguson, as Governor-General of Australia. Ferguson was a Liberal Imperialist and a one time confidant of Lord Rosebery. He was opposed to Asquith becoming prime minister in 1908, and to his leadership of the Liberal Party. The percentage votes for each party were as follows:
Conservative: 35.9 (48.8)
Liberal: 34.3 (51.2)
Labour: 29.8 (n/a)
Conservative gain from Liberal.

The Great Grimsby by-election caused by the death of George Doughty (Conservative) was held on 12 May 1914. The percentage votes for each party were as follows :
Conservative: 51.7 (58.3)
Liberal: 48.3 (41.7)
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Conservative majority: 3.4 (16.6)
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The Liberals lost the South Lanarkshire and Leith Burghs by-elections to the Tories because of Labour intervention.
 
The referendum on Tariff reform, promised by Balfour in the 1913 general election campaign, was held from 15 to 30 May 1914. The question on the ballot paper was: 'Should the British government introduce legislation to protect British industry and strengthen links with the Empire, by Tariff Reform. Yes or No?' The franchise for the referendum was the same as for parliamentary elections.

Most of the Conservative Party were in favour of a 'Yes' vote, though a minority were Free Traders. The Labour and Liberal parties campaigned for a 'No' vote. The Irish Parliamentary Party (IPP) and Sinn Fein, urged voters not to vote in the referendum, as a way of asserting their independence of the British government. But also because they wanted an Irish government to be free to impose tariffs on imports, and they did not want to be seen to be supporting a Tory government policy.

When all the votes had been counted the vote was: 'No: 54.2% 'Yes': 45.8%. A 'No' majority of 8.4%. The 'No' victory was attributed to Tory Free Traders. Turnout was 55.2%. In Ireland it was only 21.6%.

The North-East Derbyshire on 2 June 1914, caused by the death of William Edwin Harvey (Labour) was won by Labour. [1] The North Galway by-election, caused by the resignation of Richard Hazleton (IPP) on 24 May because of health and financial reasons, took place on 21 July 1914. Hazleton stood again in the by-election. The percentage votes for each candidate were as follows:
William Thomas Cosgrave (Sinn Fein): 56.8
Richard Hazleton: (IPP): 43.2
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Sinn Fein majority: 13.6% [2]
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In the January 1913 general election, Hazleton was returned unopposed.

Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary was assassinated in Sarajevo on 28 June 1914 by Gavrilo Princep, as in OTL, and events developed as in OTL. German troops invaded Belgium on 3 August 1914. The following day the cabinet unanimously agreed on a British declaration of war against Germany. Earl Kitchener was appointed Secretary of State for War on 5 August. Balfour also moved Arthur Lee from War Secretary to First Lord of the Admiralty in place of Lord Newton, who resigned. A party truce was soon agreed by the Conservative, Labour and Liberal parties, though the Conservative government continued in office.

[1] In OTL the by-election was a Conservative gain from Labour.

[2] In OTL Hazleton was elected unopposed in the by-election.
 
In a speech at Woodenbridge on 5 August 1914, John Redmond, the leader of the IPP, said that it is the duty of Irish men "to defend at all cost the shores of Ireland from foreign invasion...,,,,,This war is undertaken in defence of the highest principles of religion and morality and right, and it would be a disgrace for ever to our country.....if young Ireland confined their efforts to remaining at home to defend the shores from an unlikely invasion.....I say to you, therefore, your duty is twofold.......to account for yourselves as men, not only in Ireland itself, but wherever the firing-line extends, in defence of right and freedom and religion in this war." (1)

Redmond's speech was condemned by Sinn Fein, the Gaelic League and the Irish Republican Brotherhood. In an article in An Claideamh Soluis , Patrick Pearse accused the British government of hypocrisy in going to war to defend the independence of Belgium from German aggression, while refusing to give even Home Rule to Ireland, in spite of the expressed will of the great majority of the Irish people. Ireland will not give any support to Britain in the war.

Recruitment to Irish regiments was slow. By 31 December 1914, it was only about 18,000 men. The Tullamore by-election on 9 December 1914, was a Sinn Fein gain from IPP. (2)

A War Council was formed in November 1914 to advise the cabinet on war strategy. It was chaired by Arthur Balfour (Prime Minister). There were four other Conservative cabinet ministers: Andrew Bonar Law (Chancellor of the Exchequer), Austen Chamberlain (Foreign Secretary), Arthur Lee (First Lord of the Admiralty), and Lord Robert Cecil (India Secretary). The other members were Herbert Henry Asquith, the only Liberal member, Earl Kitchener (War Secretary), Lord Fisher (First Sea Lord), and Lieutenant-General Sir James Wolfe Murray (Chief of the Imperial General Staff). (3)

The war was proceeding as in OTL. On 26 December 1914, Sir Maurice Hankey, the Secretary to the Committee of Imperial Defence, and Secretary to the War Council, sent a memorandum he had written, to Balfour, He wrote that in view of the stalemate on the Western Front, there had to be an offensive elsewhere. "Germany was thus far surviving all the economic pressures. Perhaps she could be weakened by the capture of Constantinople? Three British army corps might become available by the spring, Then the Balkan states might be persuaded to attack the Austrians while were held to their eastern front by the Russians." (4)

(1) This was as in OTL, Redmond's speech is taken from Home Rule and the Irish Question by Grenfell Morton, London: Longman Group Limited, 1980.

(2) In OTL the Tullamore by-election was a Independent Nationalist gain from IPP.

(3) This was as in OTL. It was chaired by Asquith, and the same cabinet posts were represented. Fisher and Murray were also members, and Balfour was the only Conservative member. See Balfour: Intellectual Statesman by Ruddock F. Mackay, Oxford University Press, 1985.

(4) This was as in OTL. See Balfour: Intellectual Statesman .
 
On 30 December 1914, Balfour replied to Hankey's memorandum. His opinion was that if the Russians lived up to their claimed strength, they would have room for manoeuvre which was not available in the West. "But as for Constantinople, he feared that the Balkan states would squabble over the spoils. Moreover Germany was perfectly indifferent to the fate of her Allies, unless a direct threat to her security was entailed. Such operation, however successful, must be regarded as merely subsidiary. However he wondered if the Austrians could be weakened if British troops went up through Montenegro." [1]

On 13 January 1915, the War Council decided against any operation in the Dardanelles. On 9 February 1915, it decided that British troops should land at Salonika to help the Serbs. By then any operation in the Adriatic had been rejected because of Austrian mines,

A munitions committee of the cabinet was appointed in September 1914. with Bonar Law as chairman.

[1] Quotation taken from Balfour: Intellectual Statesman
 
In the first half of May 1915 there were articles in The Times about British troops being short of shells. The Liberal Party and Liberal newspapers joined in criticism of the Conservative government for the shell shortage. On 18 May 1915, Balfour appointed the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, the 17th Earl of Derby, as Minister at the head of the new Ministry of Munitions, and promoted Stanley Baldwin from Parliamentary Secretary Board of Trade to Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. [1]

[1] Here is the Wikipedia entry for Derby: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Stanley,_17th_Earl_of_Derby.
 
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